Sherman V at Westkapelle, ca. 1947

Jakko

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I still don’t have any definitive answers, as I doubt anyone will ever really know, but after much deliberation and trying to read up on this (harder than it looks, as most things written about it seem to be by people making assumptions and wild-arsed guesses), I decided that faded OD would be the most likely colour for the whole tank, with British addons in SCC 15. As for the AVRE, that means I got to spray it again, and I’ll post pics of it tomorrow.
 

Jim R

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Hi Jakko
Looks great under a coat of paint. Your painstaking detail does you credit and this is a real personal, unique model.
Jim
 

Jakko

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It didn’t look that great up close, my airbrush spattered a bit. And here it is in its new coat of somewhat lightened American OD:

IMG_4456.jpg

I sprayed the undersides with Vallejo Model Air 043 Olive Drab straight from the bottle (“OK for wartime OD,” according to Zaloga), then lightened it a bit with Tamiya XF-60 Dark Yellow for the upper surfaces. Unfortunately, I forgot to paint the outside of the engine deck, even though I did paint its inside :smiling3: You can tell it’s greener than the rest of the tank in the photo. But that does allow me to post a photo of the difference in colours between the first attempt and this new one:

IMG_4458.jpg

I’ll just brush-paint this side in the new colour later.

Also, a tale of how modelling is a difficult hobby. Aside from spraying this model in a room in which it was 30 degrees, my airbrush decided to quit when I was about two-thirds done with this model (luckily I had already finished the Churchill). Suddenly, no paint came out, which isn’t a rare problem, but all the usual remedies failed: pulling the trigger back and forth, increasing the air pressure, trying to put clean water through, removing the nozzle — none of it worked. The best I managed to do was either blow air into the water, or blow bubbles through the nozzle. So I tried a few other nozzles (I use an
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) and also didn’t get any paint out of them. Then I noticed that the needle seemed to be stuck forward, even if I pulled back the trigger.

With the nozzle out and looking into the airbrush, it looked like there was quite some paint build-up around the front end of the rod that the trigger works on, and which the needle sits against. In an Aztek, the needle is part of the nozzle and has a spring of its own inside that. Screw the nozzle into an airbrush, and the operating rod pushes the needle forward against its spring; pulling the trigger back pulls the rod to the rear too, and that then allows the spring to push the needle back. In other words: paint build-up there could block the needle’s rearward movement, which isn’t exactly the first thing I think of when my airbrush stops working — paint clogging the nozzle is more likely, after all. Luckily, the Aztek’s disassembly/cleaning tool has a scraper for precisely this area, so a quick turn with that and the brush worked fine again. *phew*
 
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TIM FORSTER

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Jakko, I have just caught up with this fascinating build after first seeing it on the MM site many moons ago.

Always good to see an unusual subject - but especially with this attention to detail.

Can't wait to see the diorama take shape.

I will continue to watch with interest.

Tim
 

Jakko

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A picture is worth a thousand words:

IMG_4463.jpg

Especially if you add a little calculation.
  • AFV Club set 35038, M4 Sherman VVSS T48-Track, contains six sprues; it must follow from this that for each side of the tank, three sprues should suffice.
  • Each sprue contains 28 links (plus 56 end connectors and 28 end connector extensions, which I didn’t use).
  • 3 × 28 = 84.
Then why, AFV Club, do I end up with a gap of about 1.5 cm in the track if I put it on my model after having used all the links in three sprues?! 1.5 cm is four links, my ruler tells me, so I’m eight links short for the whole tank.

The weird thing is that this is exactly the amount the M4A4 (and M4A6) required beyond the number needed on other Shermans, due to their longer hull, which must mean that if you build an M4, M4A1, M4A2 or M4A3, AFV Club provides exactly enough links for two tracks, with none to spare. My conclusions are that 1) the links in the set are too short, and 2) AFV Club prints the number of links used on the real tank rather than the number of links needed from their sets.

To be honest, knowing the above, I would expect there to be seven sprues in each set, as that gives plenty of links and a bunch of spares to put onto a model. Apparently, AFV Club feels differently about this, but I also suspect they never tried putting them on an M4A4.

Worst of all, I discover this after having had the great joy of building a (nearly) full track … First of all you have to file an ejector mark off the inner face of every link. Then you need to clean off the sprue attachment point on each and every end connector. After that, you discover that the track pins aren’t all the same thickness, so on some links the end connectors are firmly attached while on some, they come off if you breathe on them, and on yet others they stay on, but only just, so don’t handle the track too much. That in turn means you can’t build a whole length of track, paint it, and then wrap it around the wheels — you need to glue it before all that. (Painting them while on the sprue also isn’t really an option because it looks like you’ll be spending as much time touching up as it took to paint them in the first place. Still, this is probably to be recommended anyway since it will thicken up the pins and so keep the connectors on. I think I’ll try this for the other side.)

Now, I have a second set of these tracks so I can raid that for the eight links I need, but then what do I do with the rest? I really don’t feel like putting together another set of these tracks for the second Sherman I intend to build (which is why I have the other set in the first place), but if I take eight links from it I won’t have enough for that model anyway — and I’m also not likely to find many buyers for it second-hand with eight links missing … *sigh*
 
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TIM FORSTER

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Jakko, I feel your pain...

I recently tried Masterclub Panzer III/IV tracks on my Stug - having helped one of my sons assemble his for an SU-I52 and being very impressed. But they had metal links and plastic pins. The all plastic III/IV tracks were a nightmare because the pins kept snapping.

So I went back to my old friend Fruil. All metal tracks with wire with no pin ejector marks and minimal clean up (because the excess white metal flash can be often be snapped off with a fingernail), they were a joy by comparison!

I love plastic, believe me, but some things are better in metal...

Anyway, glad you have some spares. Can't wait to see this Sherman with her tracks...
 

Jakko

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Neither can I, but I don’t really feel like putting together the other side at the moment :sad: I’ve been thinking of buying one of those new Masterclub Sherman sets for the other model, but I'm not convinced they’ll be any easier going by the review on PMMS, since they tell you to glue the end connectors to the links else they’ll come out. My other main option would be Panda, but I haven’t found where to buy them in Europe.
 

Jakko

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Ouch, has it been almost five months since I did any real work on this model? :sleeping: Those tracks really took the fun out of it, and though I continued building the second run a few days ago, I had only put together 10 cm before I had both aching fingers and enough of them in general for the moment.

A6C7A332-3458-4FFF-A5DC-33E77AEC40ED.jpeg

Luckily, an unexpected solution arrived yesterday:



Not the kit as such — I had ordered that myself :smiling3: — but it turns out to come with the same type of track, in Dragon’s glueable soft plastic (which I’ve never used before) instead of as three ill-fitting parts per link. However:—

6123F638-D05A-4AC8-A351-C737F999E4DA.jpeg

They’re far too long! Since the Dragon kit represents the same type of tank with the same hull length, this is a bit odd, but it’s better than too short. The excess length is about three links:

530FD35E-C70F-45A8-8EBC-86481013906F.jpeg

All I had to do was remove three links from the track and I should be good to go. I took off the two links on one side that the tab from the other side glues onto, and one link on that side. This involved leaving the guide teeth on one side and making room for them on the other, but this was easy enough with a sharp knife. With the track put back together, it looks good to me:

E499A6EA-3459-4618-9DB9-0C12AE3FC3DF.jpeg

A simple butt join would never hold, though, so I needed a more secure way. What I did was cut away the centre of four cevrons on each end of the track and glue in a length of plastic strip that will be all but invisible with the model the right side up:

BB296D8E-4258-4F52-ADDA-A0A0FB62A402.jpeg

Cutting this material is weird, though. You need a sharp knife, and cuts from above into the profile are best made with short back-and-forth movements of the blade. Cutting out the middle of the block was just about impossible because the material seems to move and resist the blade, until I flexed the track side to side — one finger on each side of the link, then squeeze so the link took on a curve. It was then suddenly very easy to cut out the block between the first two cuts along the face of the link.

One down, one to go :smiling3:
 
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Si Benson

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I do remember this build, good to see you’ve pulled your finger out :smiling5:
 

Pete Low

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Hi Jakko
Nice work with the track very neat idea will remember that one :thumb2:.
Good luck with the rest of the build.
Pete.
 

MikeC

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Hello Jakko,
Good to see this fellow on the move again, enjoyed the film, became so interested I watched the whole film through.
Cheers, Mike.
 

Jakko

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Good to see this fellow on the move again
There were two things holding it back: my reluctance to continue working on the tracks, and the markings. I’ve solved one, and have ideas for the other that I need to do some enquiries for to see if it’ll be viable or cost more than I’m willing to spend :smiling3:

enjoyed the film, became so interested I watched the whole film through.
I must say I found it very interesting too. I knew it existed, and had seen parts of it over the years, but when I found the whole thing it made the fighting around these parts even more … well, real, I suppose. I think it’s also a pretty unique document in general: how many other Second World War films from in the actual British front lines are there, let alone of a large-scale Commando operation?
 

MikeC

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A picture is worth a thousand words:

View attachment 308106

Especially if you add a little calculation.
  • AFV Club set 35038, M4 Sherman VVSS T48-Track, contains six sprues; it must follow from this that for each side of the tank, three sprues should suffice.
  • Each sprue contains 28 links (plus 56 end connectors and 28 end connector extensions, which I didn’t use).
  • 3 × 28 = 84.
Then why, AFV Club, do I end up with a gap of about 1.5 cm in the track if I put it on my model after having used all the links in three sprues?! 1.5 cm is four links, my ruler tells me, so I’m eight links short for the whole tank.

The weird thing is that this is exactly the amount the M4A4 (and M4A6) required beyond the number needed on other Shermans, due to their longer hull, which must mean that if you build an M4, M4A1, M4A2 or M4A3, AFV Club provides exactly enough links for two tracks, with none to spare. My conclusions are that 1) the links in the set are too short, and 2) AFV Club prints the number of links used on the real tank rather than the number of links needed from their sets.

To be honest, knowing the above, I would expect there to be seven sprues in each set, as that gives plenty of links and a bunch of spares to put onto a model. Apparently, AFV Club feels differently about this, but I also suspect they never tried putting them on an M4A4.

Worst of all, I discover this after having had the great joy of building a (nearly) full track … First of all you have to file an ejector mark off the inner face of every link. Then you need to clean off the sprue attachment point on each and every end connector. After that, you discover that the track pins aren’t all the same thickness, so on some links the end connectors are firmly attached while on some, they come off if you breathe on them, and on yet others they stay on, but only just, so don’t handle the track too much. That in turn means you can’t build a whole length of track, paint it, and then wrap it around the wheels — you need to glue it before all that. (Painting them while on the sprue also isn’t really an option because it looks like you’ll be spending as much time touching up as it took to paint them in the first place. Still, this is probably to be recommended anyway since it will thicken up the pins and so keep the connectors on. I think I’ll try this for the other side.)

Now, I have a second set of these tracks so I can raid that for the eight links I need, but then what do I do with the rest? I really don’t feel like putting together another set of these tracks for the second Sherman I intend to build (which is why I have the other set in the first place), but if I take eight links from it I won’t have enough for that model anyway — and I’m also not likely to find many buyers for it second-hand with eight links missing … *sigh*
Jakko,
Looking at the box illustration it clearly states that there are enough links for the Firefly which was built on the longer hull Sherman as was the MkV so there should be enough to do the job. Did you get hungry building the track...?
Cheers, Mike.
 

Jakko

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Looking at the box illustration it clearly states that there are enough links for the Firefly which was built on the longer hull Sherman as was the MkV so there should be enough to do the job.
That’s what I’d read on photos of the box too, and one of the reasons I bought the set in the first place … somebody got something wrong, and I don’t think it was me. I’m glad I solved it with the Dragon tracks, though. On the next two Shermans I have in mind (the Dragon one and another Asuka, both to feature fairly extensive rebuilding) I’ll use Panda Plastics tracks, which should fit much better — or so I’ve read …

Did you get hungry building the track...?
Yes, I really enjoy chewing on plastic :smiling3:
 
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